Monday, August 30, 2010

Trying on Hats

We're in full "getting ready for school" mode, so we were trying on last season's clothes to see what fits and what doesn't. I picked up two new hats in the process. Don't I look cool?


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Our First NFL Game

We've been to a lot of sporting events, but until today, we had never been to an NFL game in person. Our friend Grant got us some tickets and Daddy took us downtown to the Metrodome to watch the Vikings take on the Seattle Seahawks in pre-season action.

Ben and Cameron

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Our Summer Vacation: Days 4 and 5 - The Drive to Mitchell and then Home

Days 4 and 5 were a lot of driving. We left Deadwood first thing in the morning and headed back east on I-90. We stopped in Rapid City at the Target to re-stock on some critical supplies and then continued east.

A few hours later, we stopped in the Badlands to turn in our Jr. Ranger workbooks, get our badges and be sworn in. It was pretty cool, because the Ranger there was a Twins fan.

A few hours after that, we stopped back at the Lewis and Clark center in Chamberlain to get a secret National Park passport stamp that Ranger Katrina at Mt. Rushmore told us about. It was pretty cool to see how Lewis and Clark lived on their trip. We thought they would have appreciated an XC90 too.

Then, a few hours after that, we made it to Mitchell, where we had previously visited the Corn Palace. We didn't do too much other than eat dinner and go on the water slide in our hotel. It was awesome.

Today, we got up and drove home. Mom and Dad had the foresight to stop in Sioux Falls and get Jimmy John's so that we could have a nice picnic lunch at the Wantowan rest area we stopped at on the way out. It was fun and couldn't have come too soon.

Overall, days 4 and 5 looked a lot like this:

Our trip, by the numbers...
  • At least 1,000,000: number of times all three boys went down the water slide at the hotel in Mitchell
  • About 1,900: the number of miles covered
  • 261: pictures and video taken of the trip
  • About 250: the number of new US citizens on the day we visited Mt. Rushmore
  • At least 80: number of Wall Drug signs seen between here and there
  • About 30: number of hours of driving / sitting in the car
  • 6: the number of Jr. Ranger badges earned - 3 for each boy, from Badlands, Mt. Rushmore and Devil's Tower
  • 4: the number of National Park Passport stamps - all three national parks, plus the Lewis and Clark Center
  • 3: the number of National Park Passports purchased
  • 1.3: the number of miles walked by Dad and Cameron around Devil's Tower in 96 degree heat

Ainsley, Ben and Cameron

Friday, August 20, 2010

Our Summer Vacation: Day 3 - Devil's Tower

Mom and Dad thought they would push their luck and take us all the way to Wyoming to Devil's Tower! We're happy they did, as it was probably the coolest thing we've ever seen.

This is the only picture of all 5 of us! It was taken by a woman from Germany.

It was 96 degrees while we were visiting, and it was really hard to push the stroller on the trail. You can also see that Ben was very worried about his Jr. Ranger work book, so Cameron and Dad (and the gnome) continued around on the Tower Trail.

We finally made it to our hotel, which was on Main Street of Deadwood. Mom and Dad both decided that it was not a good idea to bring kids to what had essentially become a gambling town on a Friday night....

Ainsley, Ben and Cameron

Our Summer Vacation: Day 3 - Custer State Park

We ended Day 2 with exploring the town of Custer, South Dakota. That's also where we stayed in a glorious, two room suite. Staying in Custer let us start Day 3 bright and early at Custer State Park.

If you're not familiar with Custer, there are three different parts. First, there's the forest. There are a lot of scenic overlooks.

Dad taught us both how to use binoculars.

The second part is the wildlife loop. There, we saw wild burros, pronghorn antelope, and of course, bison.

We missed the bulk of the herd by 10 minutes. You can see them up on the hill, well away from the road.

We even saw a few lone bison in places they weren't supposed to be.

The third part is the Needles Highway. They call these amazing rock formations, the needles.

Ainsley, Ben and Cameron

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Our Summer Vacation: Day 2 - Mt. Rushmore

After Story Book Island, we made our way to Mt. Rushmore. It was about the coolest thing we had seen ever, with the possible exception of the Badlands, Wall Drug and Story Book Island.

As you can see, we spent A LOT of time working on our Junior Ranger program at Mt. Rushmore. It was a lot of work and we had to talk to a lot of Park Rangers to get everything we needed.

The hunt for answers even took us down to the sculptor's studio, where you could see the original molds for the sculpture and this scale model that was made in 1937.

At the end of the day, we were proud to have Ranger Katrina swear us in as Jr. Rangers of Mt. Rushmore!

Ainsley, Ben and Cameron

PS: A really neat part of our visit to Mt. Rushmore was that they had a big naturalization ceremony there earlier in the day. We got to meet and mingle with over 250 new US citizens! It was really cool!